Thursday, February 21, 2013

Free Consultation,20,February,2013

Architectural Guidance


Dear Thomas Sir

I am Shaji, from Kannur working abroad. I am always going thru your blog and getting bunch of knowledge. Many thanks for sharing these information and ideas.

Planning to construct a home at my village in Kannur

I would like to do this with expert consultant like you , do you have any office in Kannur or any good recommendation from your friends circle ?

Or can you provide me online / telephone consultation. Please let me know your suggestions and consulting fees


My reply

I can design the house anywhere in the world

Most important part of building a house is to get the most appropriate professional design.Let us start with it

I will require dimensions of all four sides of plot,directions of each side,position of roads nearby and detailed write up on what exactly you require in the house to be built


I am an architecture student from Bangalore (Rashtriya Vidyalaya College of Architecture) and i am working on a case study related to architecture in warm and humid climate. I found this site very interesting and would like to study a traditional house and its design details in terms of climate, plans , sections and mainly the passive/ natural cooling in the traditional house. Its impossible for me to study the house myself due to time constraint and was hoping to get a little direction and help about particularly one house ( traditional) .


My reply

Without visiting the house to be studied you may not be able to do anything

You can visit our Cherthala House pictures of which are given in my Face Book profile if you can plan a visit to Cochin for as many days as you can afford.I can help you to the extent possible.



We have a requirement to build a stone farmhouse near Bangalore. But we do want the home to have a Kerala look.

We are looking at about 5000 sq. feet.

Wanted to inquire if you do such projects so that we can take this further

If not would you please be able to suggest some contacts who can help us out with this


My reply

We can design house or any other type of building for any place.Direct construction by our team is something that has to be decided after finalisation of initial drawings and after considering many other aspects also

Even though a site visit before starting design will be preferable,we can start working on the initial plan of building on getting following details:

1.Outer dimensions of all four sides of plot  clearly marking directions like East or West

2.Positions of roads nearby

3.Detailed write up on your needs and dreams for the house

4.Budget limitations if any


Dear Sir

Was reading your blog and thought of asking you, the Burma Teak wood is it bad or good, and what is the expected price for the same, what would be the expected price for local teak special teak wood from Nilambur.

appreciate your reply,


Dennis has left a new comment on your post "Teak wood-use in Kerala house construction":
I need 85 Cubic Feet of Wood, can I know the price of one Cubic Feet of Teak wood Nilambur costing.
Dennis Antony.


Dear Sir
I have read your article on teak wood and it is giving information to the public.
Only thing is , you have commented that Pingoda is not suitable to Kerala climate and condition, but now days it is very common and all contractors are recommending the same.
Since Teak is not available like in the past, Burmese teak has come in picture. What do you think about the same

My reply

Burma Teak is imported teak.It do not have good grains and finish like Kerala Plantation teak.It is available at comparatively lesser cost in Kerala.Also as the logs are quite thick and of uniform diameter,wastages will be less.Naturally all commercial manufacturers using teak wood prefer to use Burma Teak

Pingoda is commonly used by contractors due to economic considerations as it is available in large uniform diameter shaped logs and hence wastage will be less

I am not a trader of any building material and hence I cannot give any price for any material used for construction

Construction /remodeling of house


Ann has left a new comment on your post "Kerala House design and Construction:
Sir, I have recently bought a twenty year old house (1BHK) which covers almost 10 cents and has a surrounding area of another 10 cents for further construction. I am planning on a budget of maximum 10 lakhs and would like to increase the number of bedrooms by 3. would like to know if that's possible with the mentioned budget if I am not looking for a very luxuries. The flooring of the house is red oxide and is built with hollow bricks. Also suggest me cheaper options for better flooring.

My reply

Even though this message has reached me nearly twenty days back,I could not reply due to non availability of email.So instead of typing out your query on blog or trying to talk to me over phone(I may be in the midst of work at office or site and may not be in a position to listen and reply to you properly),please always write to my email id given below.You will definitely get a better faster response

Just by hearing that you purchased an old building and you intend to add three bed rooms to the existing house,no body can tell you how much it will cost

In my case, I have to visit existing house,study conditions of the building and surroundings,take measurements from site and then I can give a plan for the proposed modified house.After this plan is finalised,we can work out expected cost using Engineering Estimate methods



I have a plan to build a two story house with interlock bricks.

Kindly provide me the advantages and draw backs, if any, of interlock bricks.


My reply

Like any other building material,interlock bricks also have advantages and disadvantages.Trouble with most people going for house construction is that

1.They think they have all the wisdom required to decide on how the plan of the house should be(Of course you can clearly spell out what you need in the house.But definitely not on how to design)

2.They think collecting bits of information on many aspects of house construction from different sources and deciding /selecting by self is good enough(Architect/Engineer is not some one who will push up your cost of construction.They will reduce your cost of construction and will give you better utilisation of space at lesser cost)

3.They think all house designers and all contractors do the same work in the same manner(No two contractor or even professional is similar or equal in capabilities)

I would suggest you leave choices of materials of construction to your Architect who will select most appropriate material to suit you considering all aspects



Deeply appreciate your support on the architectural front. I attach the plan of my house in Kollam. The diagonal lines show the current structure and it is almost 13 years old house with an outside the structure bath/toilet. Now we have decided to extend the house with an attached toilet/bath on the northern side of dining room . Seek your invaluable suggestions on this in a strict budget of Rs 9 lakhs.

My reply

Extension/remodeling of a house can be done only after careful inspection of existing building by an expert.Lots of people look upon remodeling/extension as a cheaper alternative to have better facilities in the house.In most cases original house construction might not have been done with proper architectural plan and by design itself there can be serious flaws.While attempting to remodel,old structure will pose serious problems .Cost of remodeling cannot be assessed well as even an expert cannot understand defects of older construction fully


I am having a doubt about constructing slope roof

one method making slope concrete roof slab and pasting tiles on the slab

second method is casting horizontal slab ,making slop by fabricating channels and iron structures and laying tiles

among above which is good,can you please tell advantage of one over the other

My reply

In my opinion,it will be better to do slope roof concrete and lay roof clay tiles over it.But you may not get expert concrete workers to do slope roof well.That is the reason most concrete workers suggest you to do flat roof concrete and then do slope roof using steel fabrication.This can only cost more.

Building rules/Boundary dispute


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Building Permit":
Our house is 30 meters inside from road and this 30mtr x 2mtr passage or way was bought by us and this passage is leading to our house only. on both side of this passage our 2 neighbors. The neighbour on left side already has boundary wall for the entire length of this passage build long before. Now the right side neighbour decided to built boundary wall for the entire length of this passage. They have marked the area such that the width of our passage remains 200 cm. But the left side neighbour has told us that while they were building their boundary wall they have left approx. 30cm and built the wall. That means we will get a total width of 230cm. But right side neighbour are going to build the boundary wall by leaving only 200cm width for our passage.
I would like to know what we can do in this situation. I don't want to spoil the relation with our neighbour. I just would like to know whether we are entitled to have that 30cm which was left by left side neighbour and is there law supporting this. And how can we prove this to our right side neighbour and solve this issue. Please help.
Your favourable support will be appreciated

My reply.

If your left side neighbour has really left 30cm extra for your passage,it can be ascertained by measuring land in possession of left side neighbour.You can get any qualified Engineer to measure  land and check the status or to be more convincing to your neighbour you can get people from concerned village office who will have authentic sketch of plots with them to measure and mark exact boundaries of plots concerned.That way you can resolve the issue without straining the relationships

But if the right side neighbour is trying to take undue advantage of the situation,nothing can be done to avoid unpleasantness.


Respected Sir,

extent of land 1.96 cents in municipal area

Measurement north - south : 9.10 meter; East - West 8.75 Meter

moved plan leaving front open space 180 Cm, North 100 Cm, south 90 Cm East abutting with NOC. plan sanctioned permit issued. (Permit for construction North - South 756 Cm East West 696 Cm.) due to reduction in land, for the construction as per sanctioned plan reduced the area of construction from 756CM to 720 Cm and from 696 Cm to 680 Cm providing southern side open space at 60 Cm. revised plan submitted. southern neighbour moved petition stating statutory distance of 90 Cm not kept hence violation. (the attempt of Compromise with neighbour failed due to his adamant attitude and unbearable conditions) Authority issued stop memo under Sec.62. this being the position please let me know is there any violation of building rules? rejection of plan and permit is sustainable or not? Your valuable suggestions to get over from the situations is highly appreciated. Hope you sir will do the help and needful in this regard

My reply

As I do not have relevant documents to verify or I cannot visit site and check up on the matter,I can only suggest you to discuss the matter in detail with concerned official of local authority concerned.There is no reason to suspect that local authority will proceed against you against rules.I think they will explain to you whether your construction is as per rules or not and will suggest a way out 


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Building Permit":
u said that the person having plot less than 3 cent is having concessions what al r they?

My reply

Please contact concerned person in your local authority office

Vasthu aspects


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Free Consultation,3/12/12":
Hello, i have a 7 cent almost rectangle plot which has 2 side road ( north and east ) which is 4 feet in width. I have third entrance which is 10 ft. width in the south west corner of the plot that is only can be used as a car/vehicle entrance. Could you please tell me which direction of phasing of house will be better in my plot according to vasthu.

My reply

Facing East will be the best option as per Vasthu.Second Choice can be North.In your case as the vehicle can enter only at South west corner,facing east will be better as distance from vehicle entry to front side of house will be less


I am planning to buy a flat in Hyderabad. It is 3 bedroom flat and the builder has confirmed it is VASTU complaint. I sent the plan to one VASTU consultant in Kerala. As per him the room measurement and Kitchen measurement are not as per VASTU. I would like to know if there are any such measurement that we need to follow.

My reply

Flat builders normally do not follow specific measurement pattern for rooms followed by old Asaris in Kerala.Hence if you want to buy only such flats,it may be impossible to buy a flat in Hyderabad

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Free Consultation,18,February,2013

Architectural guidance


Dear Mr. Thomas,

What are the prevailing rates for architects in Ernakulum, my architect is quoting Rs30 / sq. ft..

Dr Mohan

My reply

There cannot be any fixed  universal rates for architectural services.Each Architect is different in qualifications and experience.also capability varies from person to person depending upon his exposure to works of different nature at different locations.

For example I have direct exposure in designing and building more than 200 houses in different locations and designing many more buildings.Each new work brings up new challenges. Problems encountered and solved will increase my capability while designing a new house.


Respected Sir/Ma'am,

I am a final year architecture student from Aayojan School of Architecture, Jaipur.

I saw your website today. I read all the features of Kerala architecture mentioned on the website and found them very interesting and useful.

I am doing interiors for a jewelry showroom as a part of my academic curriculum and I have chosen Kerala Gold Jewelry as my product and am interested in giving the showroom Kerala-style interiors.

It has to be in 400 sq. ft. area. Now, since I don't have much knowledge about the interior style of this region , can you please help me by throwing some light on how a typical Kerala styled jewelry showroom should be.

Your help will be really appreciated. Please share some knowledge with me in this respect.

AASHIMA 5th Year, B.Arch (I.D.) Aayojan School of Architecture

My reply

I don't know how you are going to do it without even visiting a typical Kerala Jewelry shop.I cannot work out your assignment for you and mail it to you.If you have any specific query you can ask by mail or even by phone


Hello Sir,

I am an Architect working in the gulf. I am designing few houses in Kerala being abroad i am not much aware of the rates in Kerala. I have listed below a few questions if you could reply to.

1. what would be the estimated cost of construction per sft without any finishes like flooring tiles, hand rails, switches and would be helpful if you could give me an idea of labour cost separately also.

2. The houses mostly designed are with double height spaces do we have to calculate with same rate/sft in the double height area or can we exclude this area from the total sft when calculating.

3. can you help me with the rate for medium rate poly carbonate sheet cost/m2.

Expecting your response.

Don Thomas.

My reply

You are a Designer or a Contractor? Each contractor work out his cost based on his way of doing construction and no two contractor do it in the same manner.So there cannot be anything called a square feet cost of construction applicable anywhere in Kerala for any soil conditions,any design or any type of finishes and for any period of work.

Normally design of the house is done by professionals in a manner which will reduce cost of construction while trying to utilise every bit of space inside building in the most appropriate manner avoiding wastage of space.Appropriate design is the most important cost reduction method.

While preparing Engineering Estimate giving item wise costing,even though quantity can be calculated using engineering methods unit rates are always arrived at based on data on cost available with a contractor considering also his method of doing construction.This method of construction varies from contractor to contractor and the most important guiding principle for a contractor is maximising his profit and definitely not ensuring best quality of construction and engineering standards


Hello Mr. Thomas

I saw your details through Kerala architecture. Thank you for providing lots of useful information about home building

I wonder if you take a project ,on the basis of complete execution of project ,from design to land scape, what percentage will be your professional fee?

Kindly let me know.


My reply

We do not work on percentages.We start systematically from development of Basic Plan for the house to providing complete detailed drawings for working,Site supervision and guidance.In some cases we arrange our own workers and construction management.In other cases we act as consultants giving drawings and guidance include monitoring of work at site and ensuring quality construction as per Engineering standards.For details write to

Construction of house


Hi Sir
I am Renjith, just want to know , we got 1acre of land purchased 30 years back, that time it was agriculture land,
and in document its same, but we had filled that land with soil and kept coconut tree all around that time itself(25 year back)
now we are planning to build house and sale, i want to know can we do that, or if any new rules came, can u give me clear
idea about it, hope you will reply

My reply

You have to approach concerned local authority with Survey No and other location details of your property and check up about construction of house allowed in that plot.Possibly they may refer the matter to a committee.Committee after visiting the plot will take appropriate decision


Dear Mr. Thomas,

I have gone through several blogs on various architecture topics written by you. Really appreciate the kind of effort that goes into it.

I am aware that you hate replying to queries if details are not provided. Being naive in this field, mine is a very basic query!

I have 11 cents of land and I intend to build a small 3 bedroom house in traditional Kerala style. Would it be possible to build such a house on a rectangular plot (narrow front of 17 meters), while leaving decent space in front and two sides of the house for landscaping?

Thank you in anticipation of a reply.

My reply

Why should you start with a negative assumption that a 17M frontage plot will not be suitable for building a three bed room house? You can comfortably build even a single floor house with three bed rooms in that plot.Instead of trying to assume and take decisions on your own,get professional guidance and assistance in design and construction of your house.

People are happy in spending lakhs of rupees on payments to building contractor.Even if they take excess money even for poor quality construction is okay for them.But paying few thousands to a qualified person with rich wealth of experience in  designing and building hundreds of houses is something they hate.It is considered as waste of money!


I have seen your designs Duplex villa elevation 3500 sq. ft. luxury villa, 4 bedroom luxury house design, flat roof luxury home design. modern villa design 2100 sq. ft. home and like them (ALL BIG SIZE), i will select any 1 of them after your suggestion and then i will contact Kerala home design.

i want to know that how much minimum plot size should i buy according to the above mentioned plinth area which will also have small lawn which will be good looking in totality?

please reply a.s.a.p. because I'm going to buy a plot in this week.

i want this to be built in Uttar Pradesh.

Aslam Khan

My reply

Design of the house is done to suit your plot,requirements and budget and definitely not the other way.Before finalising on your plot purchase,please go through link,Architectural Guidance in our website

and if possible get an experienced professional to assess the plot for suitability of house construction on technical aspects and Vasthu aspects.


Dear sir,

I am in the process of building a 2000 sq. ft. house at Edappal. I would be thankful if you could suggest some ways and approaches that can be adopted to to reduce the heat build up inside the house and to keep the inside cool.


My reply

If you want to reduce heat inside your house to be built,first and most important step is to get a professional design from qualified experienced expert.People seem to think Plan of the house as something any one can draw.Whoever gives it for very little cost seems to be the most desirable designer! Very few people have the expertise to understand implications  and meaning of those few lines drawn.Even they will be able to understand defects and plus points of plan possibly after completion of structure of the house.But that will be too late to do anything

Even after getting a good professional plan of the house,you require continuous guidance,directions,detailed drawings and supervision of work being carried out by contractor .Don’t simply believe sweet words of contractor who has only his profit as the  interest.Your Architect will guide you not only on reduction of heat inside house but on many other aspects of house design and construction

Dear Sir,

I am Jose  working in Istanbul (Turkey)

I am planning to build a House in Kannur. I am attaching the Plan here.

Could you please tell me that. How much the minimum land area is required for that house

and how much will be total cost of Construction including Materials

Please don't avoid this mail.

My reply

Simply taking plan or other drawings of a house from any website  will not help you at all,however impressive it may look.

House design and construction is not a silly affair.It is one of the most important investment in your life possibly taking major part of your earnings of a life time.So you have to get expert professional guidance to spend your hard earned money in the most appropriate manner to save your money and to get best out of your investment

House design has to be done by an expert considering features of your land (both technical and Vasthu aspects),your needs for the house,budget and other aspects.Don’t start with a plan of the house taken from a website and land in trouble later


Hello Sir,

I have seen your blog.. The info you provide is extremely useful.

I would like to know about the cost of boundary wall construction cost in Kerala for 30cent land. Only three sides needs to be constructed,one side wall is existing.

Is id advisable to give on contract basis or on daily wages.


My reply

Without visiting site,taking measurements of all sides of plot , getting information on material cost and labour charges prevailing at site,no one can tell cost of constructing a compound wall with the information you have given


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Free Consultation,15/12/12":
Dear Thomas,
I am having a Rectangular Plot of size 74 ft. X 55 ft., in Jammu J&K. Now i want to construct a 3 BHK house with car garage in it.
kindly advise how can i approach you and further details you will require from me.

My reply

Such messages to blog without an email id prevents me from replying.Instead of typing on blogs as comments email your queries directly to my email id

Write to above email id.We can design your house not only in Jammu and Kashmir but anywhere in the world 

Building rules and clearances


Hello sir,
I have a property in front of vattakkayal in Kollam Sakthikulangara. This is municipal area . Will i get sanction to construct house there ?


My reply

You have to check up about it with town planning dept. of concerned local authority CRZ act restrictions will be applicable for a plot  facing lake/river or sea


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Building Permit":
I am planning to purchase a new house consisting 1100 sq.ft. with total area of 10 3/4 cents land. this is in panchayath area. kindly advise what are the documents required for registration of this property. this property is in Palakkad district, Ottapalam .

My reply

Go to our website

and click on link Architectural guidance.You will get required information